For ages, individuals have tried to capture the essence of a good sale or great manager. Your bookstore probably holds a few shelves’ worth—but which offer worthwhile advice? So we asked you: Which books changed the way you do business? Why should fellow dealers read them? Here are some of your picks.
The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt isn’t your run-of-the-mill management text. It’s a novel written by a physicist. Yet it has built a following since it was written in 1984 and continues to be a source for insight on removing or strengthening an organization’s weakest links.
“An excellent read. Great for understanding the theory of constraints and the personal experience of turning around a business.”—Dorsey S. Fooks, training manager at Oldcastle, Philadelphia.
In The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, authors Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson say there are five types of sales reps but only one who is able to go above and beyond. The key: strategic aggressiveness.
“To me, the sales training book is analogous to telling you the objective of the game and almost all are identical. … The only two selling books on my shelf with any respect: High Probability Selling (Jacques Werth and Nicholas Ruben) and The Challenger Sale.”—Daryl Lucien, director of sales and marketing, B&B Distributors, Cleveland.
Dale Carnegie’sHow to Win Friends and Influence People has helped business owners manage relationships since 1936.
“Timeless advice on human nature and building relationships.”—Steven Fuchs, outside sales, DuBell Lumber, Philadelphia.
In Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, entrepreneur and speaker Harvey Mackay takes on a range of seemingly different topics and weaves them into a go-to guidebook for honing your management skills.
“This is an outstanding book compiled of short stories covering lessons on life, selling, networking, competition, and most importantly, winning. A simple, quick read I have given as a gift several times.”—Grant Leavitt, purchasing, Marcus (Iowa) Lumber.
Your yard doesn’t have to serve up steaks to benefit from the lessons New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer lays out in Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business.
“The delivery of hospitality transcends all business. … Our takeaway from this read is the feeling our customers have after their shopping experience and how our delivery of enlightened hospitality facilitates creating that feeling.”—Dave Miller, sales manager, Ganahl Lumber, Anaheim, Calif.
The Platinum Rule: Discover the Four Basic Business Personalities by Tony Alessandra and Michael J. O’Connor explains the need to navigate different talents and interests among your staff and customers in order to gauge what outcomes are possible.
“Tremendous book about ‘doing unto others as they want done unto them.’ … Every client has a ‘buying’ style; you will be more successful if you understand what it is.” —Pat Smith, owner of Build LLC, Muncie, Ind.
Sales guru Bill Lee shows multiple ways to improve margins, often without raising prices, in Gross Margin: 26 Factors Affecting Your Bottom Line.
“A great book for helping your sales staff understand margin versus markup and the pricing ruts they can fall into.”—Lou Skojec, sales manager, TW Perry, Gaithersburg, Md.